the most important thing to take with you when you travel
Airports never fail to fill me with excitement. I love watching people bustle by like busy bees, criss-crossing each others' paths to continue on their own. There’s the young family, trying to keep a toddler preoccupied. There’s the seasoned professional, sitting dapper in a suit and tie, laptop in front and briefcase to the side. There’s the girl making a mad dash to her gate before it closes (okay fine, that’s been me more than once), there’s the elderly couple sitting content in each other’s company.
I love wondering where each person is going, and what’s bringing them there. A family vacation? A business trip? Leisure travel? Perhaps, to see grandchildren? It’s fun to give stories to these strangers—it makes people watching at airports one of my favorite things.
The biggest reason I love airports though, is that they’re brimming with anticipation—in knowing a new adventure is about to unfold, and wondering what it might hold.
As the old saying goes, travel is the one thing you can buy that makes you richer. When you travel, the places you’ve only seen in photos come to life. Traveling provides an opportunity to experience cultures and try new things. It exposes you to different perspectives that stretch your own. As you’re plucked from a familiar environment then dropped into one entirely unknown, it teaches you about yourself.
I love travel for all those reasons, but it’s even more incredible when the place you’re visiting is incredibly special to you. Today, I leave on one of those kinds of trips, to visit a city that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
We all have sacred places that have played an important role in our stories. Maybe it was a summer camp, where you first met Jesus. Maybe it was the city you moved to on your own and first learned to dig deep roots. Maybe it was your college campus, or a favorite hiking trail, or your childhood home. Wherever they may be, sacred places are the places where God moved in meaningful ways—places where, when you left, they left you changed.
For me, one sacred place is London.
There’s a specific reason I’m returning to London now, almost four years after the semester it became my home. I’ll share more soon, but details aside, at the core, my reason for returning is celebration—for what God did when I was there last time, and for what He continues to do in my life as a result of my time there today.
I’ll be going with a close friend of mine, Kirsten, and before we go to London, we’ll be actually be visiting an entirely new place—but I’ll have to keep you guessing as to that destination. 😉
Ever since we planned the trip, I’ve had my reason for going in mind—and in my mind, it’s what the trip was going to be about. In talking to a mentor about it a few weeks ago though, she encouraged me to let this trip be a worshipful experience of what God did in the past, but to also go seeking God for anything new He wants to do now—that maybe there’s more to the story He wants to write.
It sounds so simple, so obvious, but I needed to hear it. I often find myself wanting to predict the ways God is going to work. I’ll tell myself what He is and is not going to do in my life the next year, or what a certain season or experience is going to be about. I try to write pre-scripted stories, but London itself and my experiences there should be a reminder to me that stories are so much sweeter when we let go of the pen and simply enter in to what God has already written—feet firmly planted in the present with eyes peeled wide to catch glimpses of His hand and ears alert to hear whispers of the divine “coincidences” He will orchestrate, allowing Him to speak in real time.
I guess what I’m trying to say—to myself, and to you—is we need to remember that God always wants to reveal Himself to us in new and fresh ways. It might be hard to believe when things feel like they’ve stayed the same for a while, but it’s true. And the best way to grab ahold of all that God has in store for us is to be expectant, and ask Him to show us.
This is the perspective I’m carrying into my trip, believing that God will speak to me in new ways in a place that will always be special between Him and I—and I think it’s a great perspective to have not only in travel, but in our every day lives as well. Rather than limiting ourselves to what we do or do not think God is going to do, why not simply step into the adventure of the unknown with an open heart, and see how He meets us there?
So what's the most important thing to take with you when you travel? An open heart to seek and see the ways God wants to move.
In the spirit of my trip, I figured I would also share a few practical things I’m taking with me to travel that I’m pretty stoked about.
ATLAS SUPPLY CO BACKPACK
If a bag more perfect for travel than the "Entrepreneur" exists, I'd like to hear about it. This luscious leather beauty has a spot for a laptop, a S'well water bottle, a DSLR camera, plus plenty of room in the main compartment for books, snacks, a wallet, etc. After using this bag on my recent trip to New York, I don't want to travel anywhere without it. Atlas Supply Co has been kind enough to offer 20% off to any blog readers who want to get one of their own—use discount code KACINICOLE.
RADEN A28 CHECK
Ya'll have NO IDEA how giddy I was over getting this suitcase. Let me break it down. Not only is it sleek and stylish, it's nerd-emoji level smart. First off, you can plug your phone into the suitcase to charge it (so long, scouting out outlets in crowded gates), it has a built in TSA-approved lock to keep your belongings safe, and GET THIS—an integrated scale so you know your suitcase's weight before you leave your house! Because, who wants to get to the airport only to find out they're at 51 pounds? You can also monitor the location of the suitcase via an app. Truly "the case for better travel," as they say. Thank you, Raden—I'm so excited to use mine!
CLOTHED IN HOPE MAKEUP BAG
I absolutely love my new makeup bag from Clothed In Hope, and I'm excited to use it for the first time on this trip! The mission of this organization is to empower women in Zambia through education and economic opportunity. This beautiful bag, for example, was made by a Zambian woman named Rabecca Phiri. The design is eye-catching, and it's durable but lightweight, so it doesn't take up too much space which is perfect for travel—especially for a chronic over-packer like me!
It's no secret I love to read, so you can bet I'll be prepared for those long flights with some good books. If you've been following along on my Facebook page, you've seen the daily quotes I've been posting from Draw the Circle. It's a book on cultivating your prayer life through consistency, and man, am I glad I picked it up. I also can't wait to dig into Prayer by Timothy Keller—he's a favorite author of mine and I can't wait to learn from him on a topic that, as you can tell, has been a theme in my life as of late.
Whether today finds you on a trip or at home, life is a journey. Let’s live it with eyes opened to see His hand, ears opened to hear His whispers, and a heart open to grab hold of His goodness. I’ve found that when we’re listening and looking for God to move in our lives, that’s when we’ll find Him most.
P.S. Bonus points to anyone who can guess our second destination in the comments! 😊